Police: 1 dead after car strikes tree in Belton - KCTV5

Police: 17-year-old dead after car strikes tree in Belton

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BELTON, MO (KCTV) -

Police are investigating the death of a Belton teenager after a single-car accident nearly wrapped his car around a tree.

Matthew Carr was just 17. His life was cut short after a tragic accident early Tuesday morning. Friends and family will gather at his high school Tuesday night to remember and to heal.

Carr was on his way home early in the morning, but this particular morning he would not make it. Just a few blocks away from his house, Belton police said he lost control of his red Chevrolet Cavalier, nearly wrapping it around a tree.

The wreck happened about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday in the 600 block of Lacy Lane in a neighborhood that is south of Highway 58.

"Cars go faster than they should around here, but I've never seen anything this fast," neighbor Ryan O'Hanlon said.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found Carr dead inside a vehicle. Police said he was not wearing a seatbelt.

Belton police said, even though the speed limit was 25 mph through the neighborhood, the impact of the crash led investigators to believe Carr was speeding and it cost him his life.

The sound of the crash woke neighbors who witnessed emergency crews come to the teen's aid.

"No one at 17 should be meeting their maker. He should be going to college, graduating. It's a tragic loss," O'Hanlon said.

It was a loss that sent some students at Carr's high school to meet with grief counselors. This year, Carr had been attending night classes at Belton High School where students can take night classes to earn credits to graduate.

"Whatever they wish to do in remembrance of Matt or for their own need to heal," said Deputy Superintendent of Belton Schools Dr. Kirby Hall.

The school district released a statement saying they were saddened by Carr's death.

"The death of any student at this age is difficult to cope with and should cause us all to pause and reflect on the loss of life," said Dr. Fred Skretta, Belton High School principal. "It's important that we honor and dignify the reactions of our students and that we provide the stability, routine, comfort and support of our school home."

Students wanted to honor Carr with a vigil, a way to say goodbye to one of their own. But Hall said there's something else that can be learned through the tragedy.

"When something like this happens we realize how fragile life is, we just need to take pause, be thankful and offer support to one another," he said.

Carr's father said no parent should ever have to bury a child. He said his son was loved and will be missed.

That vigil begins at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday under the school's flagpole.

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